Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
1THEREFORE thou shalt love [And love, so love then] the Lord thy God, and keep his charge,1 and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments [commandment], always. 2And know ye this day: for I speak [om. I speak] not with your children [have I to do]2 which have not known, and which have not seen the chastisement of the Lord your God, his greatness, his mighty hand, and his stretched-out arm, 3And his miracles, [signs] and his acts, which he did in the midst of Egypt, unto Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and unto all his land; 4And what he did unto the army of Egypt, unto their horses, and to their chariots; how he made the water of the Red sea to overflow them as they pursued after you, and how the Lord hath destroyed them unto this day; 5And what he did unto you in the wilderness, until ye came into this place; 6And what he did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben: how [as to whom] the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up,3 and their households, and their tents, and all the substance4 that was in their possession [at their feet, close to, followed them] in the midst of 7all Israel: But [For] your eyes have seen all the great acts of the Lord which he did. 8Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments [commandment] which I command you this day, that ye may be strong, and go in and possess the land, whither ye go to possess it; 9And that ye may prolong your days [may live long] in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give unto them, and to their seed, a land that floweth with milk and honey. 10For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst [which thou sowedst with] thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs: 11But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven: 12A land which the Lord thy God careth for [considereth]5: the eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year. 13And it shall come to pass [comes to pass] if ye shall hearken diligently6 unto my commandments [commandment] which I command you this day, to love [so that ye love] the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, 14That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. 15And I will send [give, so margin], grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full. 16Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived [become not foolish]7 and ye turn aside 17[fall away] and serve other gods, and worship them; And then the Lord’s wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that [and] there be no rain, and that the land yield, [give] not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the 18good land which the Lord giveth you. Therefore [And ye shall lay] shall ye lay up these my words in [upon] your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be [and they shall be] as frontlets between your eyes. 19And ye shall teach them your children, speaking [to speak, so that ye speak] of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 20And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: 21That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth. 22For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments [this whole commandment] which I command you, to do them, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him: 23Then will the Lord drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves. 24Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness, and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be. 25There shall no man be able to stand before you: for [om. for] the Lord your God shall lay the fear of you, and the dread of you upon [the face of] all the land 26that ye shall tread upon, as he hath said unto you. Behold I set [give] before you this day a blessing and a curse: 27A blessing, if ye obey the commandments [commandment] of the Lord your God which I command you this day; 28And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go [that ye may walk] after other gods which ye have not known. 29And it shall come to pass when the Lord thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put [give] the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal. 30Are they not on the other side Jordan, by the way where the sun goeth down8 in the land of the Canaanites, which dwell in the champaign [Arabah] over against Gilgal, beside the plains [the oaks] of Moreh? 31For ye shall pass over Jordan to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God giveth you, and ye shall possess it, and dwell therein. 32And ye shall observe to do all the statutes and judgments which I set [am giving] before you this day.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
1. Deut 11:1–25. Deut 11:1. A consequence of the foregoing, and parallel with 10:19. The exhortation marks itself as self-evident (6:5). שָׁמַר (comp. upon 4:2, 6, 40; 2, etc.), to hold fast, keep; hence keep his charge, what in reference to Him is to be kept, what He will have kept or held fast. The particulars of this general term, follow nearly as in Gen. 26:5. Comp. 4:1, 10. Perhaps, as already 10:20 was inserted in order that the kindness to strangers should not be shown at the cost of the observance of the law, of faithfulness towards Jehovah. Deut 11:2. And know—through which love and the observance of the law were at the same time sanctioned and urged. With a retrospect also to 10:21 sq. The chastisement [instruction] of the Lord your God fits alike well with the parenthesis (not with your, sq.) and as the subject of the knowledge. For מוּסָר comp. upon 4:36; 8:5. It is the instruction to praise and love, as it with the redemptive works, 10:21, was already sketched in a general way, and in the following 10:22 the enlargement is given more in detail. What Jehovah had thus actually taught Israel, it, i.e. the present Israel, exclusive of the children, as 5:3 of the fathers, should know. The children are to be taught by the present fathers (Deut 11:19). The subject in regard to which Jehovah had instructed Israel: His greatness, 3:24; 4:34. Upon Deut 11:3, comp. 4:34; 6:22; 7:18 sq. Upon Deut 11:4, Ex. 14:26 sq.—Unto this day, so that the Egyptian has not oppressed thee any more to this day; perfect redemption. Upon Deut 11:5, 8:2 sq., 15 sq.; 9:7. Upon Deut 11:6, Num. 16. If on account of the sons (Num. 26:11) who separated themselves from their fathers, true Levites (Deut. 33:10), and therefore did not perish, Korah was not named, so also the Reubenite On was not named, who truly does not appear further (Num. 16), because he probably drew back from the rebellion in time. Moreover Moses in Deuteronomy (comp. upon 10:8) uses the name Levi in a comprehensive way, and has therefore no interest in bringing out the violent dispute between the Levite Korah and the Aaronic priesthood, which burst out in that event, and was forever settled. What was necessary was intimated in the bare naming of Dathan and Abiram, especially the Reubenites, who could not bear to see their lost primogeniture transferred not only to Aaron, but still further to Moses. But Aaron’s priesthood, as we have seen (chap. 10) is merely the official institution and limitation of the Mosaic mediation with God. Thus the naming of Dathan and Abiram only, coincides readily with the connection between chap. 11 and chap. 10 [BIB. COM.: The rebellion of Korah evidently included an attack upon the ecclesiastical and civil arrangements of Moses. The latter was the only portion of the sedition which it was relevant to Moses’ purpose to name, and therefore he omits to name Korah. Korah’s mutiny was against the Levites, and it did not concern the people generally, whereas that of Dathan and Abiram was against the rulers of the people, and so concerned the people.—A. G.] Deut 11:7. The basis of Deut 11:2 (4:3; 3:21). The keeping of the law of God makes sure also what follows Deut 11:8. חזק (1:38) gives courage and strength. Deut 11:9. Comp. 4:26 (5:16); 6:3. Deut 11:10 occurs similarly here with the second description of Canaan, as 8:7 sq. at the close of the exposition of the first commandment. For lays the ground for the long life (Deut 11:9) in this land flowing with milk, sq., as however entirely depending upon the blessing of God. The reference to the closing reason of the second command already appears (5:9 sq.).—Not as the land of Egypt. Here the contrast is Egypt; in 8:7 sq. it was the wilderness. There the passage, here the point of departure. With this latter allusion, it was already intimated that Israel redeemed indeed, still needed the continuing divine keeping, that it may remain in life. It is not the fruitfulness, but the method of producing it, which makes the distinction between Canaan and Egypt. In Egypt this appears in some measure dependent upon the hand and foot of men.—And wateredst with thy foot.—The irrigation in Egypt, of which HERODOTUS says even that it does not rain there, is by means of numerous canals and channels, in which the water of the overflowing Nile is retained, and from which it is brought upon the fields and gardens repeatedly and with great hardship, and this was especially true of the grazing region of Israel bordering upon the desert. We are not constrained to think of any mechanical labor with the feet, which is described by Philo, or the like, since the usual movement of the feet is significant for man’s exertion in a general way (Deut 11:6), but especially for his diligence and toil (Gen. 30:30), and draw wells out of which the water is brought, but not irrigating machines, are customary in Hebraic and in Egyptian monuments. Hence as already PISCATOR: “Thou must go here and there upon the land in order to water it.” SCHULTZ well calls attention to both the standing water in the trenches and to the smaller tanks in the gardens, in both which the feet must be employed. [The Egyptians probably used tread-wheels, working pumps, and the artificial channels referred to above. But the expression is probably idiomatic for the toil and diligence requisite in the irrigation of the soil, including all the methods rather than referring to any one.—A. G.] For the sense of the passage the remark of HERODOTUS ii. 13 is significant (HENGST. Books of Moses), that the Egyptians say of the Greeks, who have no Nile to water their land, as they have, they would one day suffer grievous famine, since water could never come to them otherwise than from the gods. “As if the Lord had especially arranged that the Egyptians should live in their self-confidence, and by their own efforts, wherein they live as heathen; as if Egypt in this regard had been so truly placed as a land of heathenism.” SCHULTZ.—As a garden of herbs, i.e. from whence one could pluck vegetables and herbs, and which could be made fruitful by watering, even without the rain. Deut 11:11. No low land as Egypt. Comp. 3:25; 8:7.—Of the rain, the לְ denoting the outward cause. Deut 11:12. דֹּרֵשׁ, to seek, ask after (Job 3:4), to take care for (SEPT.: ἐπισκοπεῑται). The continual dependence upon God places it as a geographical foil to the true religion. The expression seems at first rich with promise; the threatening in such relations comes later (Deut 11:17). Deut 11:13. Comp. 7:12; 6:5; 10:12. Moses’ words pass into the words of God. So distinctly does the speaker know himself as Moses. Deut 11:14. Rain of your land, as your land needs it; in its season, viz. the first [early] rain, after the seeding, from October until December, and the latter rain before the harvest (“at the last ripe,” BAUMGARTEN) in March and April. Comp. further 8:8. Deut 11:15. Comp. 6:11. Deut 11:16. The contrast. Comp. 4:23, where it occurs in reference to the making of images, and thus here with an altogether fitting retrospect (9:12). יִפְתֶּה, will open, stands open to enticement, foolishly opens itself. Comp. 5:29; 7:4; 4:19; 5:9; 6:14. Deut 11:17. Comp. 4:25; 6:15; 4:26; 8:19. “The heavens are thought of as a mother’s breasts.” SCHULTZ. Deut 11:18. Comp. 6:6, 8. Deut 11:19. Comp. 6:7. Deut 11:20. Comp. 6:9. In the connection of the second with the first command, these repetitions are not strange. It forms a parallel completion for the memory. Deut 11:21. Comp. 4:40; 5:16.—As the days of heaven, sq. (Ps. 89:29), i.e. as long as the heaven (“with its blessing power,” BAUMGARTEN) stands over the earth, so long shall Israel, if faithful, as the fathers, so the children, dwell in Canaan. Deut 11:22. For lays the ground for this supposition. Comp. 10:12, 20; 8:6. Deut 11:23. Comp. 7:1 sq.; 9:1 sq. Deut 11:24. Comp. 2:5. For the borders, southerly and northerly, easterly and till the westward (“the posterior,” i.e. Mediterranean) sea, comp. 1:7. Deut 11:25. Comp. 7:24; 2:25.
2. Deut 11:26–32. After such a preparatory, comprehensive exhibition of the blessing and the curse, corresponding to the closing motive of the second commandment, follows now an appeal. Deut 11:26 (4:8). לִפְנֵיכֶם, so that you may see, to what obedience, and to what disobedience will lead, and be sure that it is a given [established] result, 1:8. Faith possesses the one, unbelief the other. Deut 11:27. Comp. 4:1. Deut 11:28. Comp. Deut 11:16; 9:12; 6:14.—Which ye have not known. Comp. 4:15. In opposition to the God of Israel, who had made Himself known in word and law, and not otherwise. We see how exactly the tone of the second command is preserved, the image service, how it truly leads to idolatry. Since the possession (8:1, 7 sq.) and the enjoyment (Deut 11:9 sq.) of Canaan are, according to this, dependent upon the blessing and curse of God (comp. also 4:5), so should this relation as one established by God, symbolically by Israel, as a self-judgment in the case, be put upon the land from two mountains, i.e. be uttered, proclaimed (Lev. 16:21. For the details see 27:11 sq.). Do the natural features of these mountains distinguish them as fitted for the purpose? SCHULTZ, KEIL, question it. The brothers STRAUSS (Lands and Cities of the S. S.) assert: “On the whole the mountains are little cultivated; still Gerizim shows beautiful valleys and numerous terraces, which, as the whole valley, shine with gardens, citron, pomegranate, orange trees, mulberry groves, apricots, figs, almonds, in the most luxurious fruitfulness, while at the warmer foot of Ebal olive trees are planted.” V. RAUMER describes Ebal as “bare and steep,” Gerizim “as covered and adorned with gardens.” VOELTER: “The side of Ebal is more barren than that of Gerizim, because exposed to the sun, and scorched by it, while that of Gerizim is covered with a beautiful growth, as it forms the shaded side toward the north.” [Yet Robinson describes Gerizim as being barren as Ebal. The attempt to identify this mountain with that upon which Abraham was to offer Isaac fails completely. See SMITH, Dict., Art. Gerizim, Am. Ed.—A. G.]—The oriental-like, and at the same time, motive-giving question, Deut 11:30 (3:11) refers to both mountains, and proceeds from the stand-point of Israel encamped in the plains of Moab. On the other [that] side, i.e. in Canaan literally. אַהֶרֵי, according to the accents, separated from דֶרֶךְ, but (Deut 11:24) pointing to the westward. The valley within which Sichem lies extends from south-east to north-west. The fuller definition: of the way (via) where the sun goeth down, appears at the same time to point to the way taken by Abraham (Gen. 12:6), by Jacob (Gen. 33:17 sq.), in any case to a well-known highway of commerce.—[BIB. COM.: “Called probably the way of the West, in contrast to the other main route from Damascus to the South, which passed through the district east of Jordan.” A. G.]—In the land of, sq.; so much as lies therein, viz. from the west to the east, as from the south to the north; for the clause: dwelling in the champaign [Arabah], according to the sense of this last name (comp. upon 1:1) points to both sides of the Jordan, thus even to the easterly, although from the stand-point of the Israelites only the westerly can be intended here, which in distinction from the westerly Canaanites upon the sea, is still again the easterly designation of their abode (7:1). Over against Gilgal, not the southerly, Josh. 4:20; 5:9, nor the Jiljulah (Galgula) lying upon the sea-coast, Josh. 12:23, but as KEIL and BAUMGARTEN think, the frequently mentioned (Josh. 9:6; 10:6), still-existing village Jiljulia, south-westerly from Sinjal.—[Wordsworth has a curious note here suggesting that Gilgal should not be taken as a proper name, but in the sense of wheel or circuit; a sacred enclosure near Gerizim.—A. G.]—אֵצֶל, at the side of, near by.—Elone Moreh, Gen. 12:6; 35:4. Oak or Terebinth (see WINER, Real.). A still more definite reminiscence of the patriarchal time, as before in the way. The two named mountains, two thousand feet in height, lying over against each other, correspond, according to all this description, to the purpose in view, as on all sides centrally located, availing to all the people, under the impression of the sacred reminiscences connected with the chief patriarchs [especially as Sichem lay between them.—A. G.] Deut 11:31. The reason for this direction in the coming entrance into Canaan, and the certain conquest of the land. For Deut 11:32, comp. 4:1; 6:5, 8.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. If אֵת, 10:21, marks the help of Jehovah, so also the deeds to which Moses refers, chap, 11, although they do not come into view as the “revelations of His anger, and of His power against the obstinate.” BAUMGARTEN. Moses will not alarm, but awaken and induce to a counter-love. As the love of Jehovah, who helps, came out energetically in what occurred in Egypt in the redemption of Israel, so also it is not the “end” first (BAUMGARTEN), but equally the means and the beginning, even in the destruction of Dathan and Abiram, especially with reference to the Mosaic and priestly representation and mediation of Israel before God, and also as preserving grace, saving Israel from itself. The deeds in the wilderness, Deut 11:5, form the transition to this; the love of Jehovah, in the leading, educating and sanctifying grace.
2. Through the distinction between the older class in Israel (Num. 14:29), who in the exodus were not yet twenty years old, and the children born first in the wilderness (Deut 11:2), Moses designs “to bring into clear consciousness the importance of ocular testimony,” Deut 11:7 (BAUMGARTEN) of the historic facts, in order to meet “the doubt as to the objectiveness of God.” His design is more obvious both in regard to the obedience of those addressed, which should arise for them out of their own experience (Deut 11:8 sq.), and in regard to a credible, well-founded, exemplified tradition to the children (Deut 11:19). But at the same time it respects “the externality of the present revelation, which remained still bound by the limits of space and time. In the revelation of the Spirit, those seeing were only blessed in comparison with those who went before them (Luke 10:23, 24); but then there is here a blessedness of those who have not seen and have believed (John 20:29), and of those who have not seen, and have loved (1 Pet. 1:8).” BAUMGARTEN.
3. While Palestine (see KURTZ, Gesh. I., § 43), “with respect to those without, was both negatively and positively fitted in some measure to its destination, it offers great resources and vehicles for the inward development of the people of the covenant. Scarcely a land upon the earth is endowed with such a sensitiveness for blessing and the curse. Nowhere do fruitfulness and sterility follow each other in such quick succession, or pass so easily from one to the other. Out of the paradisaic vale of Siddim, with a single night between, e.g. comes the Dead Sea, and over against it again lies its counterpart the Sea of Genessareth.”
4. The view of faith, which even in second causes, as here the rain, heart, eye (Deut 11:12), hand (Deut 11:14), holds fast to the living God, lies at the basis of the whole representation of nature Dogmatically the doctrine of divine providence, that everything as it is, answers the divine purpose of its existence through God, has thus to prove itself in the glorifying of God as this wise, holy, blessed majesty, connects itself with this view. As the individual thing is for the sake of the whole, so this whole here, a land, Palestine, is not for itself, but for the subject, here Israel, in reference to humanity. There is left open therewith a sphere of free self-determination for blessing and curse. “The efficiency of natural laws (ROTHE, Ethik., § 42) is ruled by God, they are so elastic that He, at any moment, even by their means, can take up, and so preserve or abolish the existence of every material thing.” (Conservatio, concursus, gubernatio).
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
Deut 11:1. CALVIN. “Love to God is before all. Instead of requiring he will rather allure the people to obedience through the sweetness of His grace.” True love holds fast, RICHTER: “According to Rom. 2:3 Israel was entrusted with the oracles of God. The anxious faithfulness with which the Jews guarded the books of the O. T., proved in the history of the Masora, is a wonderful example of the providence of God over this people and the book of books.” Deut 11:2. Keep, a word always appropriate to the elders, for the young. How God instructs: who would not be teachable and wise, even wiser than others. The power of the Lord: to save (Deut 11:3, 4), to bear (Deut 11:5), to keep (Deut 11:6). SCHULTZ: “Even the discipline in the wilderness. Strict parents will be loved most, and most truly.” Deut 11:7. The importance of experience: 1) For faith against doubt; 2) for the life, our own and others, in temptation; 3) for the Church against the science so-called. Deut 11:8. No selection. The whole command—What is past, and what is before us and needful for us, our need of help, and our gratitude, bind us to faithfulness, to obedience—Courage, success, possession (Deut 11:9) all depend upon the obedience of faith. Deut 11:10 sq., LUTHER: “Thus because he would attach them to God through faith, and because they knew that the rain was given to the believer through the mercy of God, and was denied to the unbelievers. God indeed gives all to all men, but to this special people He gives in addition a word of promise, that it should not live by bread alone, but by the word also.” The physiognomy of the land in its importance for the kingdom of God. RICHTER: Deut 11:13. “Israel also says: Seek first the kingdom of God; so 1 Tim. 4:8.” Deut 11:16. CALVIN: “The more frequently He impresses this, because man is inclined to superstition, the more inexcusable are the Papists in their shameless security on this point. Whoever will not remain in the simplicity of the law, is an apostate with him.” Shun the crooked way, Ps. 125:5. Human wickedness, and the wrath of God, close the heavens. Deut 11:21. OSIANDER: “No better medicine against death than the keeping of the commandments of God.” BERL. BIB.: “Deut 11:22 puts love after obedience as Deut 11:13, to show that as it is the source of obedience (Deut 11:1) so also it is itself the comprehensive command out of which all special duties flow. Here also all the commands are viewed as one only, which we must keep entirely and perfectly, James 2:10.” Faith and love, or love and faith, in either sequence, unites to God, 1 Cor. 6:17. Deut 11:26. BERL. BIB.: “The will is dead to good through sin, and inclined to evil. Through grace man can choose and actually attain. Is he faithful in the first beginning, God will give more grace.” Blessing and curse: 1) In their statement, Deut 11:26–28; 2) in their explanation. Gerizim and Ebal stand in every human life. CRAMER: “Yea and nay should every true Christian answer, what is more than this is of evil, Matt. 5:37.” STARKE: “Dearest Lord Jesus! Thou wilt declare the blessing and the curse when Thou comest to judgment, Matth. 25.”
1[Deut 11:1. His keeping what he has laid upon you to keep—charge, not here in the sense of observance, rites, but as including all enjoined.—A. G.]
2[Deut 11:2. WORDSWORTH, BIB. COM., KEIL and DEL., make the clause “for not with your children which have not known and have not seen,” a parenthesis, and drop the colon after day. SCHROEDER carries the parenthesis on, including the Lord your God. Our version seems to make the whole passage, to Deut 11:7, one sentence, which would be very unusual in Hebrew. The rendering suggested by KEIL is preferable.—A. G.].
3[Deut 11:6. Lit., which the earth opened her mouth and swallowed.—A. G.].
4[Deut 11:6. Lit., the living thing which is at their feet.—A. G.].
5[Deut 11:12. Margin, lit., seeketh or seeking.—A. G.].
6[Deut 11:13. The common idiom hearkening ye shall hearken.—A. G.].
7[Deut 11:16. Lit, be opened—and so to be enticed, seduced.—A. G.].
8[Deut 11:30. After the road, where the sun goeth down, i.e., the West.—A. G.].
Therefore thou shalt love the LORD thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway.